Today’s entry: You said average incomes are now above $30/hr. Florida’s always used to trail the national average. Is that still the case? Also, are wages rising in Florida or just jobs?
Bottom Line: Friday’s jobs report showed the median full-time hourly income rose again last month and is now $30.33 per hour. What’s especially encouraging about average incomes is the growth in wages we’ve seen as jobs have continued to be added back to the economy.
In February 2020, the last month prior to the impact of the pandemic, average hourly earnings were $28.52 per hour. Rather than salaries collapsing due to the pandemic, the opposite happened with average incomes 6% higher today than prior to the pandemic. Wages are continuing to push higher amid record job openings with many companies struggling to fill vacancies. Aside from stimulus checks and the supplemental federal unemployment benefits, increased earnings have helped fuel consumer spending and drive inflation.
So, what about Florida? As of April, Florida’s average hourly earnings are $28.99 per hour. So yes, Florida still lags the national averages. The better news is that, like the national trends, Florida’s current average hourly earnings are higher than prior to the pandemic. Also, Florida’s longer-term trends have been tracking positively.
Florida has closed the national earnings gap by 1% in the last decade. What this illustrates is that Florida isn’t just one of the top two creators of jobs, we’ve also been able to raise the quality of life for most Floridians through wage growth while slightly bridging the national wage gap.
There’s one other dynamic that more than bridges the gap. Taxes. Florida’s lack of a state income tax leads Floridians to have the fourth-lowest total tax burden in the country. By the time taxes are factored in, net earnings are essentially at parity with the national averages. Florida’s economic story is a good one that continues to get better.
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Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio
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